Ramon Arias | February 1, 2016
These coming elections are not just about filling the highest office of the land; it also covers a wide range of important areas of county, city, various levels of state offices, U.S. Representatives, and U.S. Senators. Every elected official is going to impact society for better or for worse. Citizens will decide the outcome and will have to live with it until another election cycle comes around.
It will require that each voter cast an educated vote not only on the issues at stake but also on the individuals who are running for office. Yes, it is a lot of information that needs to be processed, but if you know that elections have long-lasting consequences, it is a small price to pay.
The starting point is to know the political parties’ platform. What are the values that they uphold and how do they line up with yours? We have two dominant political parties, Republicans and Democrats, with opposite views on everything; however, at times we cannot tell the difference between them because they both have contributed to bigger government, which is leading the nation to the destructive ideology of socialism. Big government promotes taking care of people from the cradle to the grave, thus, punishing the productive class. History reveals how foolish and devastating that worldview has been.
In these elections, the level of many people’s anger is high, especially at the federal level that seems determined to destroy America’s original foundation. However, the condition of other states and cities do not fare any better; this is the result of their political and social perspective. Beware! Unchecked anger blinds people’s perception of reality and pushes them to make rash decisions that make matters worse due to their lack of critical thinking.
Let us seriously consider President James Garfield’s warning in his centennial address to Congress in 1876:
“Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature…If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”
Garfield’s warning about the following centennial not finding the nation in great condition, he was not referring to material wealth. He witnessed the devastating outcome of the War Between the States, and his focus was on becoming a moral society once again and taking control of the political forces. Character matters and voters must judge character above all else, including the candidate’s private life. Who a person is in private is who they truly are.
Already, in Garfield’s time, the new experiment of civil government was failing as a result of two combinations: 1) people let go of their civic responsibilities and they did not examine the candidates’ character before elections, and 2) people who see political office to self-serve their interests with disregard for the society’s present and future. It is the people who drop the ball and tolerate ungodliness in their elected officials.
When Christians abstain from voting because they were taught wrong, or because they just don’t care about politics or elect godless individuals, they contribute to push the nation towards tyranny.
In 1789, Noah Webster wrote:
“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character . . . When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country.”
Ambition has a positive side when it is under the control of a person of good character that wants to do what is right according to God’s moral law. We must look for these character traits in all those who want our vote. It is not about outwardly professing the Christian faith or a political party. It is not about how well the person projects his rhetoric or what the promises are. It is about morality according to God’s law.
John Witherspoon, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1776 wrote:
“Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue.”
Tyranny begins with promises of greatness and slavery comes in different forms too; it is the work of the people that elevates mortal humans beings to a level of little gods. History gives us the facts that when people don’t do what is right, that always comes with a heavy price and the end result is catastrophic. It is a lie to think that the end justifies the means.
God gives the responsibility to the people to elect godly individuals that are approved by Him:
“When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.” (Deuteronomy 17:14-15)
Humans have two models of civil government to follow, godly and ungodly. God’s instruction to Israel, in selecting public servants, was to be based solely on one of His choosing. His approval will always come from among those of His moral calling that will govern according to God’s will, not a foreigner or someone who is not knowledgeable and respectful of God’s moral law. Otherwise, they would think their understanding of life and society without God’s worldview is the perfect one and they will fiercely oppose anything and anyone who says otherwise.
In every election, Christians must recognize what is God’s will in every area of life. This means His people must know the biblical worldview inside and out. The biblical Christian doesn’t build hope and expectations in man’s imaginary ideas but on the sure foundation of God Almighty and Creator.
Christians can’t avoid their participation in the political process, even by not voting they are voting, there isn’t such a thing as neutrality. When voting, Christians must do their due diligence to vote according to God’s prescription of electing individuals.
Elections, at all levels, are about the future of the county, city, state and federal government. Biblical Christians’ only loyalty is toward the One and only Ruler of heaven and earth who is working out His plan generation after generation. Let’s get it right!